What happens when entities like Kaiser Permanente, Levi Strauss, Hewlett Packard, and Johnson & Johnson work together with NGOs like Healthcare Without Harm, Breast Cancer Fund, and Natural Resources Defense Council to create a healthier materials economy for people and the planet? Tools like Clean Production Action’s (CPA) chemical footprint project are co-created and supported by investors and institutional purchasers with over $2.3 trillion in assets and $70 billion in purchasing power. CPA’s Green Screen, a leading procurement tool used by industry giants like Apple, Hewlett Packard, and Nike, is used across industry leaders and sectors to shift industry supply chains to safer, more sustainable materials.
Kaiser Permanente – the nation’s largest healthcare provider with 8.5 million member organizations, 145,000 employees, and $31 billion in annual revenue – is a founding member and critical contributor to the work and success of the BizNGO. Four decades ago, Kaiser Permanente invited Rachel Carson to present a keynote address on the human health risks associated with the continued use of toxic chemicals in products and production processes.
Working with Healthcare Without Harm and others, Kaiser developed progressive policies that aligned with their preventative health strategy for patients and member organizations. But with close to 80,000 chemicals in commerce, many of which are known or suspected carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or simply have not been tested for human health and environmental impact, the BizNGO creates a forum for entities like Kaiser to collaborate on solutions to be scaled across industry sectors and, most importantly, supported by government policy.
The data, analysis, and leadership from the BizNGO, which now has over 500 members from the business, investment, government, and NGO communities, is shaping industry and government standards globally. This enables replication and scalability around a common set of open-source criteria that define what it means to transition towards chemicals and materials that are safer and better for people and the environment. And maybe most importantly it allows engineers and product designers access to critical scientific and marketplace analysis and trends that reward best practices and innovation towards a materials economy that supports a healthier planet. These leaders work toward the agreed-upon objectives of all the groups that hold membership in the BizNGO:
- Model a new type and degree of collaboration between NGOs and businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a safer, healthy economy.
- Develop tools and continuous improvement criteria for moving to safer chemicals and sustainable materials.
- Transform markets to safer chemicals and sustainable markets by, for example, aligning purchasing criteria across sectors.
- Craft a “transition agenda” for moving away from petro-based materials to sustainable bio-based/bio-derived materials.
- Advance policy initiatives that accelerate the development and use of safer chemicals and sustainable materials.
- Engage in outreach and education across supply chains and within business sectors.
- Make the business case for market transformation.
- Share information that facilitates the movement away from toxic chemicals to safer substitutes.
- Identify and facilitate the formation of research projects that advance innovations in safer chemicals and sustainable materials.
Learn more about BizNGO.